“…This shit sucks.”
“Come on, now. It doesn’t look so bad.”
“I think he’s just upset that he can’t wear his beanie.”
“Shut up, Aki.”
Mitsuru’s laugh was both a good interjection and an effective reminder of what she could do to them both if they continued to bicker and ended up pissing her off. The young woman moved into Shinji’s room, lightly stepping over the junk and clothes scattered all over the floor to reach up and straighten the coat of Shinji’s uniform. Akihiko watched them both from the bed, noting Mitsuru’s content smile, Shinji’s gruff embarrassment.
“Should I ask why you agreed to do this?”
The three of them went to school together that day, for the first time since Shinji left – they even ate lunch up on the rooftop, like old times. It occurred for Akihiko, at the end of that day, to ask Shinji why he had done it, but his familiarity with the way the other boy dealt with things and handled things eventually made him decide against it. He would know the reasons soon enough, when he needed to.
On the night Shinji died, Akihiko understood.